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Last updated: Jul 27, 2021 Advanced Use of the Contribution Engine

The Internet Archive Contribution Engine supports some advanced functionality to enable high volume contributors to more easily (and less interactively) upload and import content into the Archive. The advanced functionality consists of several parts:

  1. FTP Log in with your Internet Archive "library card" username and password to (NOTE: you must login -- otherwise the server is "readonly").
  2. For each item you want to create and upload, create a subdirectory and upload the files you want for that item into that subdirectory via FTP.
  3. Each item/subdirectory to be imported must have a two XML files -- one describing the item and one describing its files.
  4. Call an URL telling the contribution engine that you are done uploading a specific directory. Results are returned in XML for easy parsing.

In the following sections, the XML formats will be discussed and examples will be given.

Preparing the item metadata ( ..._meta.xml )

First of all, every item in the Archive must have a unique identifier. This identifier is used to locate the item on our servers and provide the content to the users. When you upload a directory, the name of the directory is the unique identifier used. Identifiers can only contain letters, numbers, underscores, dashes, and dots (nothing else!)

For the sake of clarity, we will use an example of a movie called "My Home Movie". Assume the movie is one file named MyHomeMovie.mpeg, is encoded in the MPEG2 format, has a running time of 2:30, and was directed by "Joe Producer". The unique identifier is MyHomeMovie.

In order to avoid manual intervention with the website, you will need to specify all of the above information using two XML files. The files must be named IDENTIFIER_meta.xml and IDENTIFIER_files.xml where IDENTIFIER is the unique identifier (in our example these files would be called MyHomeMovie_files.xml and MyHomeMovies_meta.xml).

The item metadata file (MyHomeMovies_meta.xml) would look like this:

  <title>My Home Movie</title>
  <director>Joe Producer</director>

All items must have the collection, mediatype, description, and title field supplied. You can include whatever other fields you like. Some fields will be displayed on the website. For movies these include: date, producer, production_company, director, contact, sponsor, description, runtime, color, sound, shotlist, segments, credits, and country. For audio these include: creator, description, taper, source, runtime, date, and notes. Any other fields will be kept in the XML file and will, in the future, be shown on the website. For a good example check this metadata file.

You can also select a Creative Commons license for your item by adding a field called licenseurl to your metadata file. Choose the URL from a list below, based on the type of license you want.
Click here to show/hide the licenses list

So, for example, if you wanted the Public Domain license, you would put this line in your metadata file: <licenseurl><licenseurl>

Preparing the file metadata ( ..._files.xml )

Additionally, you may describe the files you are uploading so the system knows what types of conversions to do (to user accessible formats -- what we refer to as "derivative" files). Additionally, this format information can be shown to users on our website.

For most users uploading files with common suffixes, some examples:

.3gp .3gpp .3gpp2 .aif .aiff .avi .cdr .dv .flac .flv .iso .jmpeg .jmpg .jpeg .jpg .m2v .m4v .mjpg .mov .mp1 .mp2 .mp3 .mp4 .mpeg .mpeg1 .mpeg2 .mpeg3 .mpeg4 .mpg .ogg .ogm .qt .rm .rmvb .shn .wav .wma .wmv
then our system will automatically setup the _files.xml for you. You simply need to make a _files.xml with just the line:
in it. The deriver system will fill out the _files.xml and determine the formats for you.

More advanced users comfortable with XML may opt to fill out the formats themselves.
You may click here to show/hide more detailed information.

It is highly recommended that contribute as much metadata as possible about the item and its files.

Uploading the files

One you have created the metadata files, use your FTP client to upload the directory containing the item files and the metadata files. In our example the directory uploaded would look like this:


Telling the contribution engine to process the upload

Once you have uploaded the directory the contribution engine needs to be informed to process your contribution. Doing so is simple. Assume our example film was uploaded by A HTTP GET should be issued to:

Clearly, you would adjust the parameters relevant to your contribution. Calling this URL will return an XML response. If the contribution was successful, it will look like this:

<result type="success">
    Queued for format conversion and move to download server.

Otherwise, if there was a failure, it would look something like this:

<result type="error" code="missing_field">
    The metadata is missing the following fields: collection, title

If all is successful, the item will be added to the Archive and the URL tag in the returned XML will indicate the URL you can use to get to the details page for the item. Otherwise, the message will indicate what you need to fix.